By David Salley
HSU Sports Information
HOT SPRINGS — For the second consecutive year, and in head coach Colton Cowan‘s first year at the helm of the program, the Henderson State women’s golf team sits atop the Great American Conference, winning the championship at Hot Springs Country Club by a whopping 39 strokes.
The Reddies claimed the second largest margin of victory in GAC Women’s Golf Championship history, while also setting a new GAC Women’s Golf Championship record after posting a 17-over 881, breaking the previous 54-hole team record by four strokes.
After setting a conference championship first-round team record of 6-over 294 and a second-round team record of 3-over 291, HSU finished its historic championship run with an 8-over 296 to finish 17-over 881 across the three rounds of play.
Just as they were after the first round, all five Reddies finishing inside the Top-8, led by GAC Player of the Year Gracen Blount, who put the finishing touches on an historic season, defeating Arkansas Tech’s Jacqueline Klemm by one stroke to win individual honors at 1-under 215.
Blount’s 1-under 215 is the second lowest 54-hole score from an individual in conference championship history. The Hot Springs, Arkansas, native’s 2-under 70 on day two was tied for the lowest second-round score from an individual in the GAC’s 11 years.
The Central Arkansas transfer’s unparalleled junior season ends with four individual wins, with each win coming below par. Blount has delivered 10 of her 23 rounds this season at or below par, including her pair of par-or-better rounds at the league finals.
Along with Blount, Allie Bianchi and Hannah Choi each made the All-Tournament team with their third and fourth place finishes, respectively. Bianchi claimed 15 pars over the final 18 holes, ending her third round at 1-over 73 for a 54-hole score of 4-over 220. It is the second year in a row Bianchi was named GAC All-Tournament.
Choi registered her fourth Top-5 finish of the 2021-22 season after finishing with a fourth-place, 7-over 223 card, seeing her first bid on the GAC All-Tournament squad.
Daphney Tilton finished alone at sixth with a 10-over 226, followed by Karen Lee at a tie for eighth with her 14-over 230. Lee, after posting a 5-over through the first 10 holes of the final day, finished with six pairs and two birdies coming on the 17th and 18th hole.
For the second consecutive year, the conference win gives Henderson St. an automatic bid for the NCAA Regionals, which will be held at Hot Springs Country Club May 2-4.–